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Thread: Smoking Food Thread

  1. #1
    Sheikh of Smoke
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    Smoking Food Thread

    Its time to start up a new Smoking Food Thread. To all my fellow smokers, light 'em and cook 'em slow and low.



    Below is a reference of the various woods to use for different tastes that I used when I first started smoking. Whatever you do, never, ever, ever, ever use cedar or pine. The sap will foul your food.



    Reference guide for Woods used to Smoke Food

    ACACIA - these trees are in the same family as mesquite. When burned in a smoker, acacia has a flavor similar to mesquite but not quite as heavy. Is a very hot burning wood.

    ALDER - Very delicate with a hint of sweetness. Good with fish, pork, poultry, and light-meat game birds.

    ALMOND - A sweet smoke flavor, light ash. Good with all meats.

    APPLE - Very mild with a subtle fruity flavor, slightly sweet. Good with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork.

    ASH - Fast burner, light but distinctive flavor. Good with fish and red meats.

    BIRCH - Medium-hard wood with a flavor similar to maple. Good with pork and poultry.

    CHERRY - Mild and fruity. Good with poultry, pork and beef. Some List members say the cherry wood is the best wood for smoking. Wood from chokecherry trees may produce a bitter flavor.

    COTTONWOOD - It is a softer wood than alder and very subtle in flavor. Use it for fuel but use some chunks of other woods (hickory, oak, pecan) for more flavor. Don't use green cottonwood for smoking.

    CRABAPPLE - Similar to apple wood.

    GRAPEVINES - Tart. Provides a lot of smoke. Rich and fruity. Good with poultry, red meats, game and lamb.

    HICKORY - Most commonly used wood for smoking--the King of smoking woods. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. Good with pork, ham and beef.

    LILAC - Very light, subtle with a hint of floral. Good with seafood and lamb.

    MAPLE - Smoky, mellow and slightly sweet. Good with pork, poultry, cheese, and small game birds.

    MESQUITE - Strong earthy flavor. Good with beef, fish, chicken, and game. One of the hottest burning woods.

    MULBERRY - The smell is sweet and reminds one of apple.

    OAK - Heavy smoke flavor--the Queen of smoking wood. RED OAK is good on ribs, WHITE OAK makes the best coals for longer burning. All oak varieties reported as suitable for smoking. Good with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game.

    ORANGE, LEMON and GRAPEFRUIT - Produces a nice mild smoky flavor. Excellent with beef, pork, fish and poultry.

    PEAR - A nice subtle smoke flavor. Much like apple. Excellent with chicken and pork.

    PECAN - Sweet and mild with a flavor similar to hickory. Tasty with a subtle character. Good with poultry, beef, pork and cheese. Pecan is an all-around superior smoking wood.

    SWEET FRUIT WOODS - APRICOT, PLUM, PEACH, NECTARINE - Great on most white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. The flavor is milder and sweeter than hickory.

    WALNUT - ENGLISH and BLACK - Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter woods like almond, pear or apple. Can be bitter if used alone. Good with red meats and game.

    Other internet sources report that wood from the following trees is suitable for smoking: AVOCADO, BAY, CARROTWOOD, KIAWE, MADRONE, MANZANITA, GUAVA, OLIVE, BEECH, BUTTERNUT, FIG, GUM, CHESTNUT, HACKBERRY, PIMIENTO, PERSIMMON, and WILLOW. The ornamental varieties of fruit trees (i.e. pear, cherry, apple, etc.) are also suitable for smoking.

    Types of wood that is unsuitable or even poisonous when used for grilling. Don't use any wood from conifer trees, such as PINE, FIR, SPRUCE, REDWOOD, CEDAR, CYPRESS, etc.

    There are many trees and shrubs in this world that contain chemicals toxic to humans--toxins that can even survive the burning process. Remember, you are going to eat the meat that you grill and the smoke particles and chemicals from the wood and what may be on or in the wood are going to get on and in the meat. Use only wood for grilling that you are sure of.

    If you have some wood and do not know what it is, DO NOT USE IT FOR GRILLING FOOD. Burn it in your fireplace but not your smoker.

    Also ELM and EUCALYPTUS wood is unsuitable for smoking, as is the wood from SASSAFRAS, SYCAMORE and LIQUID AMBER trees.

    Here are some more woods that you should not to use for smoking:

    Never use lumber scraps, either new or used. First, you cannot know for sure what kind of wood it is; second, the wood may have been chemically treated; third, you have no idea where the wood may have been or how it was used. For all you know, that free oak planking could have been used in a sewage treatment plant.

    Never use any wood that has been painted or stained. Paint and stains can impart a bitter taste to the meat and old paint often contains lead.
    Do not use wood scraps from a furniture manufacturer as this wood is often chemically treated.

    Never use wood from old pallets. Many pallets are treated with chemicals that can be hazardous to your health and the pallet may have been used to carry chemicals or poison.

    Avoid old wood that is covered with mold and fungus that can impart a bad taste to your meat.

  2. #2
    Sheikh of Smoke
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    http://www.twincityribfest.com/Home_2011.html

    Above is a link to the Twin City Ribefest, to be held June 10-12th at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds in Winston-Salem. Quite a few of us are competing in the amateur division, and I encourage everyone to come out and cheer on a Deacon Victory!

  3. #3
    Sheikh of Smoke
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    Come on Tuffalo, spill your team name!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by tsywake View Post
    Come on Tuffalo, spill your team name!
    Frey's Nickel City Smokehouse. It's named for my mom's family, who used to own a meatpacking business in East Buffalo. If you check on facebook, my profile pic is from outside the plant when we (cousins, friends, uncle) cut the marquee sign from the building in 2009. Should be gettting some old gear from the company to wear at the RibFest. I'm pumped about that.

    TeacherFianceeDeac was a little pertubed by the name, as I am not a Frey. I call BS. I am as much a Frey as I am a Hager or Benzing or [actual last name]. Further, I am certain that my dad would be ok with me repping the other side of the family every once in a while.

  5. #5
    I think I may have to attend this year. I need some good pointers on ribs. That is the one thing I still struggle with getting consistently good results.

  6. #6
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    Attend or compete? Its only $25 and its a great time. Plus it'll help you see what other groups do and can give you some pointers.

    What kind of issues are you having with ribs? I'm partial to babybacks, but most people tend to like the spare ribs.

  7. #7
    Probably just attend this year. I am partial to babybacks and I like the meat to fall off the bone (even though I guess that is considered overcooked). I have tried 3-2-1 and a couple of other methods and the results have varied greatly from one time to the next. I also like the flavor on the sweet side and have had trouble finding a good rub/sauce recipe that I really liked.

  8. #8
    Sheikh of Smoke
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    Whenever I do the 3-2-1 method mine end up being overcooked, so I usually do mine for about 4 hours to get the texture and fall off the bone that I want. Last year for the tailgate I did ribs, but we ended up doing 64 racks. They were still quite good, but I wasnt happy with the product because I wasnt able to give them the TLC that I normally can with less ribs.

    Try Sweet Baby Rays, Sonny's, or the Jack Daniels line of sauces. Those are all good sauces that I go to when I dont want spicy. I love hot foods, so most of mine end up being a little on the spicy side.

  9. #9
    Have you seriously ever heard anyone using old lumber or scrap wood for smoking? That seems insane to me.

  10. #10
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    Lots of people go into it not knowing anything at all about smoking. Common sense would say it's not a good idea but people do it every day. The biggest mistake people make is using cedar or pine when smoking. While it works great on the grill for cedar planking, the sap in evergreens fouls the taste of the food and in some cases can make you very, very sick.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by tsywake View Post
    Whenever I do the 3-2-1 method mine end up being overcooked, so I usually do mine for about 4 hours to get the texture and fall off the bone that I want. Last year for the tailgate I did ribs, but we ended up doing 64 racks. They were still quite good, but I wasnt happy with the product because I wasnt able to give them the TLC that I normally can with less ribs.

    Try Sweet Baby Rays, Sonny's, or the Jack Daniels line of sauces. Those are all good sauces that I go to when I dont want spicy. I love hot foods, so most of mine end up being a little on the spicy side.
    Thanks tsy! I have heard of Sweet Baby Rays so I'll try that one next time. When you do 4 hours, do you wrap with foil at all and when do you sauce?

  12. #12
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    If you have a Costco membership, they have Sweet Baby Rays 2 bottles for $5. Sams usually carrys Sonny's. OSD actually turned me onto SBRs and LK turned me onto Sonnys. The Jack Daniels can be found at any Harris Teeter.

    I dont foil mine at all. I've done it a couple times and IMO, they were overdone each time. The only thing that I can think of that would make mine different from choarcoal smokers is that using wood the entire time isnt as dry a smoke as charcoal produces, so the meat doesnt dry out as much.

    I cook mine for 3 hours, and then will occasionally redust them with the rub for the final hour. Thats dependent on how much I put on them to begin with and how hot I want the taste to be. I sauce them between 30-45 minutes prior to taking them off so it'll have time to caramelize and then I sauce them again as I take them off.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by tsywake View Post
    If you have a Costco membership, they have Sweet Baby Rays 2 bottles for $5. Sams usually carrys Sonny's. OSD actually turned me onto SBRs and LK turned me onto Sonnys. The Jack Daniels can be found at any Harris Teeter.

    I dont foil mine at all. I've done it a couple times and IMO, they were overdone each time. The only thing that I can think of that would make mine different from choarcoal smokers is that using wood the entire time isnt as dry a smoke as charcoal produces, so the meat doesnt dry out as much.

    I cook mine for 3 hours, and then will occasionally redust them with the rub for the final hour. Thats dependent on how much I put on them to begin with and how hot I want the taste to be. I sauce them between 30-45 minutes prior to taking them off so it'll have time to caramelize and then I sauce them again as I take them off.
    Thanks. I think I am going to try your method this weekend. What temp range are you cooking in? Around 225?

  14. #14
    Sheikh of Smoke
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    I actually do most if not all my cooking in the 250-275 range, with the preference around 250. It speeds up the process, and its easier for me to add more fuel at regular intervals. I can do ribs in 4 hours, chickens/turkeys in 2, butts in 6, shoulders in 6-8, and whole hogs in 8-10.

    I do like to slowly bring my temperature up after the meat is put on and slowly let it fall towards the end. I doubt there's any real advantage to doing it that way, but I prefer it not being so hot when I'm leaning over the smoker messing with the meat.

  15. #15
    Steve Lepore WhatUTalkinBout Willis's Avatar
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    A long tailgate Saturday spent smoking meat in preparation for an evening feast is a nearly perfect day. Honestly, I sometimes feel like the football games interrupts my fun on these days.

  16. #16
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    When the football game sucks, we have a tendency to go back out and tailgate some more. Sometimes 8 hours just isn't enough time to tailgate.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by tsywake View Post
    When the football game sucks, we have a tendency to go back out and tailgate some more. Sometimes 8 hours just isn't enough time to tailgate.
    BAD fan!

    Like the team name?

  18. #18
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    I do like the team name. I'm anxious to hear how the drunk announcers pronounces it.

  19. #19
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    BTTT. I'm cooking pork shoulders as a fundraiser for a church renovation project for Easter. 18-20 lb shoulder for $40. I'll post more as the time nears but shoot me a message or respond here if you are interested.

  20. #20
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    TLC randomly did showed a rerun of the 2009 Diamond State competition in Dover, Delaware. It really got me jonesing for some competitions. I wish I had the time and money to randomly go to competitions like that.

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